By Taylor Rexrode
Clue: A Baylor student flew to Los Angeles for a game show. Answer: What is “Jeopardy’s” College Championship?
Plano senior Taylor Roth appeared on the game show “Jeopardy” Monday and Tuesday, competing against 15 students from different universities across the country for the grand prize of $100,000 and a spot on “Jeopardy’s “Tournament of Champions show.
The two-week event will air starting May 6. Jeopardy is available in Waco at 2:30 p.m. on KCEN-TV.
Roth, a University Scholars student, said getting on “Jeopardy,” — one of the largest trivia game shows, with 25 million viewers each week — didn’t require a lot of studying.
“I didn’t study that much because I knew they could talk about just about anything, but I studied up a little on presidents, Shakespeare and world capitals,” Roth said.
Roth was chosen for the show after passing an online test and a personal audition that included a 50-question test and mock version of the game show. She had a personal interview with producers, narrowing her down to one of the 15 students to appear on the program.
Contestant producer Maggie Speak said Roth’s charisma played a big role in her acceptance on the show.
“She is a lovely girl,” Speak said. “Her personality is just terrific and she plays very well. That’s what made her stand out more than anything; she had the whole package.”
Roth said her enthusiasm for the show started when she was in middle school. She began watching the show for its speed and variety.
“I really like the fast pace,” Roth said. “There’s never a dull moment. You don’t have a lot of time to think and there is a wide range of categories. If there’s not something that appeals to you, then something else will.”
“Jeopardy” started back in 1984 as a quiz show to test people on their skills in history, language arts, literature, art, sciences, geography, popular culture and wordplay. The questions are sorted into categories from which contestants can choose the level of difficulty they want.
Speak said the college segment caters to students not only with references to popular culture but also subjects they are studying. She said successful college contestants don’t just understand their major but have a “wide range of knowledge.”
“You want to have a combination going,” Speak said. “They need to be well read and they should understand a wide variety of subjects.”
As a University Scholar, Roth said she studies a combination of materials based on her academic interests. The University Scholars program allows its students to explore their interests as part of their degree plans, forgoing the traditional majors path to graduation.
Roth’s knowledge base and the support she received from friends and family helped get her behind a “Jeopardy” lectern in California. By the time the show was over, Roth was glad to have accomplished one of her life goals.
“I didn’t go in with any expectations because I knew I would have fun. Being able to cross this off my bucket list is a big thing. It’s not about how well I do on the show because it’s about the experience,” Roth said.